In the US, the incidence of human papillomavirus (HPV)–related oropharyngeal cancer (OPC) has been growing at an alarming rate for the past 4 decades.1-3 In 2011, HPV-related OPC was predicted to surpass cervical cancer in annual incidence in the US by 2020.2 However, because of the continued decreasing incidence of cervical cancer and the accelerating incidence of OPC, HPV-related OPC actually surpassed cervical cancer to become the most common HPV-related malignancy in the US in 2015.4 Currently, nearly 19 000 new cases of HPV-related OPC are diagnosed in the US annually.5 The decrease in cervical cancer incidence is partially attributable to effective screening programs and the early detection of precancerous lesions.6 Unfortunately, effective screening tests for precancerous HPV-related lesions of the oropharynx are lacking. Therefore, the best opportunity to curb the epidemic of HPV-related OPC is through vaccination against the oncogenic strains of HPV responsible for OPC.4
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Osazuwa-Peters N, Graboyes EM, Khariwala SS. Expanding Indications for the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine: One Small Step for the Prevention of Head and Neck Cancer, but One Giant Leap Remains. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2020;146(12):1099–1101. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.4068
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